U.S. livestock: Hog futures rise on supply woes

CME cattle contracts ease

Chicago | Reuters — U.S. hog futures rallied on Monday, with supply expected to tighten after another slaughterhouse was shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic, traders said.

“If we have packers up and running we know we have the domestic demand,” said Ted Seifried, chief market strategist for Zaner Ag Hedge. “It is just getting the animal to the plate.”

JBS USA said on Monday it would indefinitely shut a Minnesota hog slaughterhouse that produces about five per cent of the country’s pork, in the latest disruption to the U.S. food supply chain from the coronavirus pandemic.

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Some bargain hunting also propped up the hog market, which fell 10.2 per cent last week.

Lean hog futures added 2.525 cents to 46.25 cents/lb. at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (all figures US$).

Cattle futures fell on technical selling.

CME June live cattle fell 1.2 cents to 85.1 cents/lb. The contract hit resistance at its 20-day moving average.

August feeder cattle futures dropped 0.75 cent to 127.65 cents/lb. after failing to hold support above its 40-day moving average, a level it struggled at during the previous two sessions.

After the close, Cargill said it has begun the process of temporarily idling its beef plant at High River, Alta. due to a COVID-19 outbreak and encouraged all of its employees to get tested for the respiratory virus as soon as possible.

— Mark Weinraub is a Reuters commodities correspondent in Chicago.

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